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Interviews

Interviews

Tristan Taormino interviews former NCSF Executive Director Judy Guerin. "Sex Activist Judy Guerin Talks Bush and BDSM" Reprinted with permission from On Our Backs Magazine By Tristan Taormino The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF) was formed in 1997 as a national advocacy and lobbying organization that promotes tolerance of consenting adults to perform alternative sexual expression. NCSF's primary focus is the SM/leather/fetish community because it's such a large constituency that nobody else represents in Washington, DC. NCSF holds a seat on the National Policy Roundtable of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force where it meets with about 55 other groups like the Human Rights Campaign, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, ACLU, and AFL-CIO to talk about national strategic issues related to policy. At 48, Judy Guerin, mother of three and longtime SM practitioner, was ready to retire. Instead, at the urging of community members, she took the job of executive director of NCSF, which plans to open its official office this spring in Washington, DC. Just before a March meeting of the National Policy Roundtable to discuss sex and politics and teaching GLBT leaders to be more comfortable addressing issues of sex, On Our Backs spoke to Guerin about sex activism and the bumpy road ahead under Bush and Ashcroft. On Our Backs: So how did you become executive director of NCSF? Isn't it an unpaid job? Judy Guerin: Yes, I'm doing it for free. NCSF really can't afford to have anyone in a paid position at this particular point in time. I've been involved in both the transgender and the SM/leather/fetish communities for a long period of time as an activist, and people knew that my children were getting ready to go off to college, and that I was getting ready to retire. They thought it would be a good opportunity to get me back involved in community organizing. On Our Backs: So this was your idea of retiring? Judy Guerin: Yes. On Our Backs: What do your kids think of your job defending kinky people? Judy Guerin: They actually are very supportive of it and think it's great. One of them is heterosexual, one is bisexual, and one is gay. I've raised my children to be very open-minded and diverse in their thinking. I've had interesting reactions from other people. A lot of people ask me, "What's a nice girl like you doing in a…
Leigha Fleming, Interim Executive Director By Lou Briquant Whether you're a swinging couple, a quiet practitioner of SM, Gay/Les couple or single, or a member of a polyamorous relationship, there are people in this world who are looking out for your interests and your freedom to be who you are. Leigha Fleming is the Interim Executive Director of the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom, a volunteer post that is a lot of hard work with intangible but fulfilling rewards. Ms. Fleming got involved in the NCSF over the past few years. She tells us that she is currently doing any of several related jobs within the organization. "I most enjoy managing NCSF's Constituency Services, which include our Incident Response Program and our Legal Education Outreach Program. The most important qualities for any volunteer, regardless of position, is dependability. You have to do what you say you're going to do. You have to follow through and be accountable. We have to listen to what our constituents want and need from us, and we have to have confidence and to believe in our mission and vision." Fleming never planned to be an activist or advocate. She was very involved in the SM-leather-fetish community and, as her participation grew, her awareness of discrimination and challenges faced by those involved in alternative lifestyles grew as well. "I've always had very strong opinions regarding governmental interference in private lives of adults. As I saw friends lose custody of their children, and SM groups getting hassled by the police, I began to get angry. Anger is a great motivator for change!" Fleming happened to hear about the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF) about five years ago, when her educational SM group began doing outreach to the local police. An NCSF staffer heard about the successful meetings, and contacted her. NCSF was just beginning its its Legal Education Outreach Program (LEOP), so she got involved at that time. She believed, and still does, that the NCSF will make a difference. Holding down a fulltime job, in addition to the necessary duties, is taxing and extremely time-consuming. She spends three or four hours a day on average, dealing with NCSF-related issues. The most difficult aspect of the volunteer work, outside of the time, is making sure everything is coordinated and follow-up is properly done. The struggle continues, against with anti-privacy/anti-First Amendment forces that want to curtail the…
Individuals from the SM-Leather-Fetish community available for interview   Liz Highleyman Journalist Medical Writer 415-305-0821 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Cecilia Tan Publisher (Circlet Press), Author Boston, MA This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it (617) 864-0492 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~  Bill Henkin Board Certified Sex Therapist, Clinical Sexologist, MFCC San Francisco, CA This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it (415) 923-1150 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~  John Warren Author, Diversified Services Boston, MA This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it (617) 787-7426 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~  Janet Hardy Publisher (Greenery Press), Author San Francisco, CA This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it (510) 652-2596 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~  Jay Wiseman Author San Francisco, CA This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it (510) 652-2596 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~  Trevor Jacques Publisher (WholeSM), Author, Researcher Toronto, Canada This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it (416) 962-1040 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~  Susan Wright Policy Director of NCSF, Author New York, NY This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it (917) 848-6544 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~  Mistress Lalique Professional Dominatrix, Community Organizer Centerville, MA This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it 508- 420 - 9045 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~   
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Why You Should Care

Because your sexual expression...
  • Can result in discrimination, prosecution, and even violence against you
  • Can cause you to lose your children
  • Can cause you to lose your job or your income
  • Can lead you into a maze of antiquated laws and regulations you never even knew existed
  • Is arbitrarily criminalized by state and local authorities
  • Is used by the radical right to marginalize minority groups
  • Can result in the invasion of your privacy by the government, both within your own home or in educational, social and group environments 

How You Can Help

    • Work to change antiquated laws
    • Work to change the social climate about sexual issues
    • Promote acceptance of safe, sane, and consensual alternative sexual practices among consenting adults
    • Oppose censorship of consensual sexual expression
    • Fight for freedom of academic expression about sexual issues
    • Help communities and individuals facing the threat of prosecution or legal action
    • Support the right of adults to express their sexuality, gender identity and orientation freely and openly without fear
    • Learn more about NCSF

Why You Should Care

Because your sexual expression...
  • Can result in discrimination, prosecution, and even violence against you
  • Can cause you to lose your children
  • Can cause you to lose your job or your income
  • Can lead you into a maze of antiquated laws and regulations you never even knew existed
  • Is arbitrarily criminalized by state and local authorities
  • Is used by the radical right to marginalize minority groups
  • Can result in the invasion of your privacy by the government, both within your own home or in educational, social and group environments